NEWS-LEDGER NEWSPAPER — AUG 28, 2013 –
By Steve Marschke
A military officer prep program has returned to West Sacramento’s main high school after an absence of many years.
This time, it’s the Air Force which is on the River City High School campus for its “JROTC,” or Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Principal Katie Nemer says the program is being held in three class-loads. And it’s popular.
“We have about 110 signed up,” said Nemer. “We actually have a waiting list of about 45 kids. It’s a year-long class – it teaches military history, avionics, national security – everything you could think of to prepare for a career in the military.”
“But,” added Nemer, “the purpose is not necessarily for them to join the military, it’s to learn what they need to know to become good members of the community.”
The coursework is led by Air Force Colonel Russell Warner and an enlisted Air Force enlisted man. In an email, Warner echoed Nemer’s comment, saying the JROTC program’s mission is to “develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community.”
For some students in the new program, JROTC may be a path towards officer status in the Air Force. But for how many?
“It’s too early to tell that,” Nemer told the News-Ledger. “Many think they will go into the military. But that’s not our purpose. The purpose is to provide what they need to become excellent citizens.”
The year-long coursework is heavy on physical conditioning. Participating freshmen get physical education credit; higher-level students get “elective” credit for the JROTC class.
Principal Nemer said nobody has protested the involvement of a military program on campus.
“It’s just the opposite,” she commented. “I can’t tell you how many people have been saying, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you!’”
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